We trust doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers with our most precious possession: our health and well-being. While an overwhelming majority strive to provide the best possible care to heal you when you are sick or injured, mistakes caused by negligence are increasingly common. When a healthcare provider’s negligence or failure to provide the proper care causes an injury or additional suffering, you are entitled to compensation. At The Fitzpatrick Firm, our medical malpractice attorney is unafraid to hold those responsible for your suffering accountable, and we are dedicated to helping you get the settlement you deserve.
Understanding Medical Malpractice in Atlanta
Medical malpractice is an incredibly complicated area of personal injury law and navigating this area requires a great deal of experience and knowledge. In Georgia, four key elements must be present in order for a court to determine if malpractice occurred.
The healthcare professional or provider was charged with caring for you or seeing your medical needs. For example, your primary care physician, a nurse assigned to care for you during a visit to the emergency room, or a pharmacist filling your prescription all have a duty to provide you with a standard of care.
Dereliction of Duty
Malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional is derelict in their duty to provide you with a standard of care that is the same level as other providers in the field and aligns with recognized medical standards. Common examples include:
- Injuries during childbirth;
- Failure to diagnose
- Lack of follow-up care
- Prescription errors
- Surgical errors
- Unnecessary surgery
- Release from care too soon
- Failing to take the patient’s medical history
- Disregarding patient information
Once a dereliction of duty occurs, a serious illness or injury must result. If a healthcare provider acted with negligence, but you didn’t suffer long-term effects or severe complications, this would not be considered medical malpractice. Damages include:
- Inability to work
- Long term disability
- Chronic pain
- Emotional distress>
- Significant medical costs
- Ongoing care and treatment
Finally, it must be proven that the ill effects or injuries suffered were directly attributed to the dereliction of duty.
These four criteria must be met in order to receive damages, a monetary award, for your injury.
Choosing the Right Medical Malpractice Attorney for Your Case
Determining and proving medical malpractice can be incredibly challenging and expensive. Insurance companies handling claims on behalf of the doctor or hospital are aggressive in the defense of their clients in order to prevent paying out settlements. Making it even more challenging, a medical malpractice lawsuit in Atlanta cannot move forward without an affidavit from a physician attached to the complaint. You’ll need a qualified medical expert working on your side before your case can even go to trial.
At The Fitzpatrick Firm, we have a team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers who can help you understand your case and determine how much it’s worth. Just as important, we aren’t afraid to take your case in front of a jury because we work with medical experts who can provide insight into your records and help us hold negligent providers accountable for your pain and suffering. We have a dedicated team with the resources to fight on your behalf and secure maximum recovery for your case.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
1. What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to the negligent or careless practice of medicine. This can be by a medical doctor, a dentist or some other licensed medical person. The key words here are “negligent” or “careless.” Medicine is not an exact science, and diagnosis can involve a variety of different factors. While most medical diagnoses are routine, complications or past medical history or any number of other elements can cause a misdiagnosis. In order for it to be malpractice, the diagnosis must be shown to be outside standard practice. Because this can be a complex and sometimes delicate procedure, your medical malpractice lawyer has received extensive training, both in the classroom and in practice.
Are Medical Malpractice Case Like Other Personal Injury Cases?
Medical malpractice actions are extremely complicated and expensive to pursue. The insurance companies that handle claims on behalf of the physicians and other medical professionals are very aggressive in defending claims against the physicians and hospitals they insure. In addition, the physician generally must consent to any settlement. This results in many cases being litigated. In the State of Georgia, a lawsuit cannot even be commenced unless the affidavit of a physician setting forth the negligence of the Defendant is attached to the complaint. Since many physicians will not give an affidavit against a fellow physician in the same city, a nationwide search for an expert to testify for the injured person may be required.
How Are Cases Established?
The process of showing that a diagnosis or treatment was malpractice or that patient treatment was in some way out of the normal way, can be extremely complex. It will usually involve the testimony of a doctor not involved with the original diagnosis. This can be difficult to obtain since doctors might feel obligated to protect members of their own profession or local organizations. Sometimes proof can require a consultation with an out-of-state doctor to obtain the necessary second diagnosis. Your lawyer can help you with contacting the right people and gaining medical opinions that will have weight in your case.
Is it Malpractice?
Not every medical error can be considered a case of malpractice. There are two key elements in determining if a medical situation falls into the malpractice category. First, it is necessary to determine the normal standard of medical care for your condition in the location where it occurred. Second, your legal team must show how the doctor or other medical practitioner fell short of that standard. This is why medical experts are so vital to a medical malpractice lawsuit. An added question that must be answered is how the error has affected you. Medical mistakes can range from misplaced decimals (which can be scary with certain types of medicines) to surgery gone wrong. Once the malpractice has been established, the next step is to place a dollar value on the resultant difficulty. Malpractice can even include inappropriate disclosure of personal information – something that can have far-reaching results.
Your Medical Malpractice Lawyer Works for You
Your medical malpractice lawyer must engage in extensive training just to begin practice. Your lawyer has a vested interest in applying all due diligence to your situation. He or she can probably quickly establish whether you have a real case or not. Once that is determined, your lawyer will work conscientiously on your behalf. The money will not compensate for the loss of physical proficiency or loss of life, but it can help fill in the financial hardships that can be incurred. For some types of cases, these can be considerable.
They can include not only the added expenses incurred because of the malpractice, but can also include loss of income, and even monetary compensation for emotional anguish. Your medical malpractice lawyer will be able to guide you through the correct responses to receive the just amount of compensation for your circumstance.
Malpractice Lawyer on the Job
Once established, the lawyer will work diligently on behalf of patients who have to believe they have been misdiagnosed, incorrectly treated, or have sustained an injury from a medical procedure. They work with medical experts, take depositions from qualified experts, gather and analyze medical reports concerning cases, help with setting up independent medical examinations, do medical research related to the patient’s condition, and work with legal nurse consultants to analyze the available material pertaining to a case.
Malpractice lawyers are often paid on a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the fee awarded to you.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Malpractice Attorney Today
If you or a loved one are in need of consultation in regards to a potential medical malpractice claim, please contact The Fitzpatrick Firm at (678) 607-5550 or fill out the form below and one of our Medical Malpractice attorneys will call you immediately.